Caffeine: Is it Hiding in Your Kids Snacks?

Caffeine is famous for making adults jittery and causing insomnia. In kiddos, the effects are magnified due to their smaller size. In your little one this stimulant can affect blood pressure, heart rates, focus, sleep, and more.

You may think your kiddo is safe, as you never allow them to have caffeinated beverages, but caffeine is now put in everything from flavoured waters to snack bars.

Read below for 7 sneaky places caffeine may be hiding in your children’s snacks:

Dark chocolate – Thought to be much healthier than the milk version, some dark chocolate labels list this as an ingredient.

Hot chocolate – Say it isn’t so! Check this winter staple before you buy it and make sure it is stimulant free.

Coffee flavoured ice cream – Many people think that the ice cream just has the coffee flavor, but it can also have the stimulant as an ingredient. Check the label before giving it to you little one just to be safe.

Root beer – While most brands skip this, some brands (like Barq’s) have it listed as an ingredient.

Tea – Tea comes in many forms (green, sun, iced, black…) and can greatly vary in the amount of caffeine in them. While some may have none, according to Mayo Clinic certain versions may be packed full, leaving you and your little one jittery and unfocused. Before you two sip what you assume is a “healthy” beverage, check out the label first.

Bottled Waters – I don’t know why they would add this into water, but they did. Some brands, including the famous vitamin version, now include caffeine.

Food Bars – Some snack bars and meal replacement bars now list this stimulant on their labels as ingredients. Before you give your kiddo a “healthy” bar to snack on, check the label and make sure you are actually handing them something healthy. While reading the labels, check out the sugars too, most have high numbers that may surprise you.

To protect your kids from this scary ingredient, become a label reader. If caffeine is listed, don’t buy it. It’s that simple. As a healthy alternative to the snacks above, considering fresh fruit and plain old-fashioned water.

If you’re a member of the sandwich generation and give your elder “health drinks” to balance out their nutrition, be sure to read our article on Are Those Store Bought Health Shakes Really Healthy? Like food bars, the sugar in them is startling.

 

Photo courtesy of mliu92 on Flickr.
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